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WEB SITE: www.nightwatchrecording.com
e-mail: inngate@nightwatchrecording.com

Editor: Joseph Physician
Eventide Staff: Jean Elliot, David James, Lawrence Bletsch


I will devote myself to the study of War and Politics,
that my children will have the right to study Science and Mathematics,
that their children will have the right to study Art and Music.
                                   ---paraphrased from John Adams, 1780


My duties at EVENTIDE necessitate the need for going back and reviewing past newsletters to get a better picture of where we have been--- to get a better picture of where we are going. Upon reading of Owain Phyfe’s love for the works of Ayn Rand (EVENTIDE Issue #2), I opted for another shot at reading Atlas Shrugged (Signet, 1959). Within the night, I found the following passage that articulates perfectly, for me, how music should make a person feel about what they are hearing:

“She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.”

I ask you, dear reader, how does your music (how does your art) of choice affect you? Drop us a line.

In the meantime, this issue of EVENTIDE continues with ongoing reviews and releases, not to mention, controversy and conspiracy.

An EVENTIDE introduction by Owain Phyfe

I can still remember, quite vividly, a frosty October, Michigan morning, driving to work, some years ago, when I first cracked the wrapper and popped an underground CANTIGA cassette into the car’s player. The music I heard changed my life.

I had been searching for years to find the right musicians to form the instrumentalist contingent for The New World Renaissance Band, and... here they were. Even today, the music from CANTIGA elicits a sweet, knot-in-the-stomach feeling not unlike the remembrance of a first chance-encounter with an eventual lifelong love. And now... to announce the release of their 2nd, all instrumental compact disc, Magic Steps, is more than just a privilege --- it is the joy of witnessing the success of one who is cherished.

My own raison d’etre being the Arts, I readily express my views on the subject: that the purpose of Art is contemplation, that, in the case of music, this means contemplation through a given emotion --- music being a series of periodic sound vibrations which become the audio counterpart of a given human emotion. CANTIGA’s Magic Steps CD, like their previous recording, Once Upon A Time, is built upon an emotional content which is indeed a pleasure through which to contemplate one’s own discovery of the world. You will not find in this collection bitter contentiousness, hostile cynicism, or even exaggerated sentimentality (these being among the prevailing emotions in current popular music). Instead, you will find elegance, simplicity, grandeur, pride, stateliness, beauty, eloquent sorrow, and whimsical merriment.

The CD’s twelve cuts play out this way:

(1) Branle Des Chevaux (The Horses’ Brawl) (3:02) 16th Century French Dance

(2) La Volta (5:05) 16th Century Romantic Dance

(3) Country Dances (3:58) From John Playford’s The English Dancing Master (1651)

(4) Harlequin Hornpipe (3:41) Traditional Fiddle Tune

(5) Aran Boat Song (4:07) Irish Traditional

(6) Ja Nuns Hons Pris (3:42) Richard The Lionheart (1157-1199)

(7) Branle De L’Official (1:47) 16th Century French Dance

(8) Ganglot (2:35) Swedish Walking Song

(9) Cantiga 100 (4:23) From Cantigas de Santa Maria Alfonso El Sabio, 13th Century

(10) Miss Judge’s Jig (3:32) Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738)

(11) Tarantella (3:24) Italian Dance

(12) The Parting Glass (2:23) Irish Traditional

Magic Steps fittingly, opens with The Horses Brawl. It showcases a counterpoint viola da gamba performance by guest artist Alexandre (Sasha) Raykov. (Yes, this is the same Sasha who has appeared with me at many a Ren Faire.) The piece’s embodied emotion is one of measured euphoria midst a dignified call to adventure --- as if to declare: “Onward and Upward!” (We assure you, gentle readers, that this will not be the last you’ll hear of Master Sasha on NIGHTWATCH RECORDING.)

The Irish Traditional Aran Boat Song, cut #5, is my favorite Magic Steps selection. I indeed think it epitomizes the group CANTIGA and, yes, evokes those fragile, haunting feelings I attempted to describe at the outset of this introduction. Might I suggest a glass of port and a late-night, quiet, candle-lit room to accompany this particular song. In fact, before you polish off that port, you might give ear to Ja Nuns Hon Pris, Ganglot, and Cantiga 100 (cuts #6, #8 and #9). I suspect that these songs will prove to be ‘sleeper’ favorites endearing themselves inextricably through repeated listening. For me, that’s already beginning to happen.

Bottom line: Magic Steps presents all the familiar strides of CANTIGA in top form: Martha Gay’s steady hand on harp, the unmistakable playful sound of Bob Bielefeld’s woodwinds, the simple, articulate warmth of Max Dyer’s cello, all uplifted by the percussion of Ray Dillard. The result is, quite simply, a musical world to delight in visiting. And especially, in the case of this CD, the collection takes on a more-than-usual, personal importance to all of us in its capture of some of the last recording sessions of passionate play of the late CANTIGA co-founder, fiddlist Malcolm Smith (1951-1996). Magic Steps is appropriately dedicated to his memory. A


Did You Think Conspiracy Was A New Concept?

San Francisco -- November 12 - 15, 1998 --- Under the banner of Edward deVere’s Viscount Bulbeck coat of arms portraying a lion “shaking a spear” (pictured left), members of The Shakespeare Oxford Society gathered in the city by the bay for their 22nd annual conference delving ever deeper into the longstanding, albeit revitalized, controversy surrounding the authorship of the plays and sonnets of William Shake-speare. (“Shake-speare” is spelled here as it appears on the original 1609 publication of the poet’s sonnets.) It is the unshakeable belief (pun intended) of the Society that “William Shakespeare” was, in fact, the pen-name of Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford. How is it, they ask, that a rustic from Stratford could have exhibited such insight into the intimacies of courtly life as well as an expertise in languages he reportedly never studied, and an in depth knowledge of countries and cultures he never visited? Indeed, how is it that the greatest master of the English language never owned a book and that he would have even allowed his own children to grow up illiterate?

Armed with convincing arguments to some clearly valid concerns, the Oxfordian position has, through the years, managed to rally a number of formidable advocates to its growing intellectual and thespian ranks; among them: Walt Whitman, Henry James, Mark Twain, John Galsworthy, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Nabokov, David McCullough, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud, Michael York, Patrick Stewart, Sir Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh, Henry Thoreau, Ambrose Bierce, Lysander Spooner, and H. L. Mencken. If you think you might like to take the gloves off and join the debate, here’s a web site to peruse and a list of recommended reading:

Shakespeare Oxford Society
PO Box 263
Somerville, MA 02143

Alias Shakespeare by Joseph Sobran
The Mysterious William Shakespeare by Charlton Ogburn
Shakespeare Identified by J. thomas Looney

Music for this year’s conference, held at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, was provided by vocalist Owain Phyfe and viola da gamba master Sasha Raykov. The two Nightwatch Recording artists also conducted a workshop/lecture on the value of Renaissance music for the 21st Century.

In Case You Missed It

Nantucket, Massachusetts --- Issue #10 (Spring ‘98) of Renaissance Magazine (Phantom Press Publications) devoted itself to a celebration of music of The Renaissance and Medieval periods, featuring The New World Renaissance Band in a major article and displaying the portrait and pensive stare of vocalist Owain Phyfe on its striking cover. Our congratulations go out to Ren Mag Editor, Kim Guarnaccia, and writers Cynthia Soroka and Mistress Isa (of the Blooming Rose) for a very accurate and insightful presentation of the band. (There are still a few copies available. We recommend getting a subscription. 508-325-0411)

Attention: Koalas and Kookaburras

Bellingen, Australia --- Music of Cantiga, Owain Phyfe, and The New World Renaissance Band is now available in the land down under. That’s right, mate, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Geoff Byng and his upstart distribution company, VORTEX ( http://www.key.net.au/~vortex/index.html ). Mr Byng is making a go of it by show casing the music of recondite and underground, independent recording companies around the globe: “Many of VORTEX’s contractees are small companies with under twenty discs in the catalog. I can never pass up music which I think Australians should hear.”

Not only was NIGHTWATCH impressed by Geoff’s entrepreneurial spirit, but it seems that this Australian is also a romantic in the classic sense. (see letters to the Editor: Dear Nightwatch )

If everything goes according to plan, VORTEX hopes to expand soon to include distribution in New Zealand. Attention: Tuataras.


At the risk of turning this issue of EVENTIDE into an unabashed lovefest promoting NIGHTWATCH RECORDING CD’s, here’s a recent review of The New World Renaissance Band’s third CD, Odyssey, from Chico, California based MAGICAL BLEND MAGAZINE.

by The New World Renaissance Band

Have you ever been to Strausbourg on the French/German border? This is a city that somehow got stuck in the Renaissance era. In my youth, I had the joy of spending a period of time living with some European musicians who performed Renaissance music in Strausbourg taverns. The experience brings chills to my spine as I write this --- as did this CD. If you have ever enjoyed a modern-day Renaissance faire or a special pagan or science fiction gathering, you will love this music. Owain Phyfe’s vocals are melodious and hypnotic, at times invoking the Latin language, which adds further to overall authenticity. I can easily close my eyes while listening to this music, lie back and dream myself back into the Renaissance era. This music feels like Leonardo daVinci and Michelangelo, without the Black Plague.

---Michael Peter Langevin
Magical Blend Magazine
www.magical blend.com

----Dear Nightwatch


Sweet Muses,
Who through music move the soul,
And bring the vault’s keen breath
T’infuse our earthly fumblings
Bring light to our dull slumberings.

With NIGHTWATCH I have plighted troth
Quilled my mark to parchment oath
To bring their music and its grace
Of ancient days, to this far place.

Our hearths and homes so distant lie
Yet o’er us all the same blue sky,
Though we’ve built countries far from home
In times past, our roots were one;
So come, New World Renaissance Band
I’ll bring your music to this land

Geoff Byng
President, VORTEX
Bellingen, Australia

Reflections on contract with NIGHTWATCH RECORDING: extending to VORTEX distribution rights for Australia

NIGHTWATCH: Now that’s how business ought to be conducted!

This is the Malcolm Smith Memorial Plaque at the CANTIGA stage, Scarborough Faire (Texas) (above photograph taken Memorial Day weekend ‘98)

The plaque will be carried and displayed with CANTIGA to each faire they will be performing at (Sterling, NY, Michigan). It will come to its final resting spot permanently mounted at the front entrance CANTIGA gazebo at The Texas Renaissance Festival, this October ‘98)

Best Regards,
Mark Carboni
Willis, Texas

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